Wednesday, July 29, 2020, 6 p.m.


In 2019 the Delaware General Assembly approved the Equal Rights Amendment, but a woman’s work is never done. The Delaware Historical Society and Lewes Public Library host a discussion on the continued fight for women’s rights, led by a diverse panel of politically active and socially conscious women. Bring your questions, audience participation is encouraged!

Moderated by:

Dr. Emerald Christopher-Byrd, Assistant Professor, Women & Gender Studies, University of Delaware


Panelists include:

Charito Calvachi-Mateyko, J.D./M.A.C.T.

Principal, Delaware Transformative Justice,

Co-Chair, Delaware Hispanic Commission,

Executive Director, Latino Initiative on Restorative Justice

Shané Darby

Founder Black Mothers in Power

Morgan Kelle

Communications Manager, ACLU Delaware

Rep. Valerie Longhurst

House Majority Leader, Delaware General Assembly

Pamela Malsch

Co-Chair, Women’s March Sussex-Delaware

Marlene A. Saunders, DSW, LMSW

Women's March Sussex-DE & Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice

Tara Sheldon, MSW

At-Large Director, CAMP Rehoboth

State Auditor Kathy McGuiness

Delaware’s first female State Auditor


This program is partially funded by a grant from the Delaware Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.




Monday, August 10, 2020, 6 p.m.


While the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1920, finally legalizing women's right to vote, few realize that it was a hard-fought 70-year journey. The struggle for women’s suffrage almost pre-dates the founding of the country and was brought about by hundreds of brave women--Black and white, who sacrificed their time, health, money, and social status to win that right.

Many courageous African American women fought to assure that they received the same rights as white women. Despite segregated schools, restaurants, and racial terror characteristic of the Jim Crow era, African American women organized, created an educational campaign, and marched in women's suffrage parades. It's easy to take for granted women's right to vote today. But, a look back at the people and events that led to the passage of the 19th Amendment reveals a heart-wrenching and compelling story that demands attention and recognition of the leaders of the Woman’s Suffrage Movement, both Black and white.


About the Speakers

Syl Woolford earned a B.S. in Business Administration and Accounting from Delaware State University and an MBA in Marketing from Rutgers University. In 2008, Mr. Woolford began researching his family history and expanded that research into a total revisiting of African American history. He has given presentations on African American history since 2010 when he began lecturing on “African-American Soldiers in the Civil War.” Mr. Woolford serves on the Delaware Heritage Commission, the Historical and Cultural Affairs Collections Committee, Delaware Preservation Fund, and was a founding member of the Delaware Chapter of the Afro-American Genealogical Society.

Carol Scott has B.S. in Accounting and Business Administration from Goldey Beacom College and has studied Equity and Diversity at Rutgers University. Ms. Scott is the former Senior Associate Director of the New Jersey State School Boards Association (NJSBA) and has assisted boards of education to develop school district policy. She has designed and managed NJSBA’s Policy and Affirmative Action/Diversity Issues, Board Member Academy, and district training programs. Ms. Scott is known for her writing and motivational speaking. She is the founder of CAS & Associates, Inc.

This program is partially funded by a grant from Delaware Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.




Thursday, August 20, 2020, 6 p.m.
New Directions in African American History


Jesse Erickson, PhD, shares his research on the life and writings of Alice Dunbar-Nelson, a lifelong activist, educator, organizer, and orator. This talk is pre-recorded and will be followed by a Q&A.

Jesse Erickson received his PhD in Information Science from UCLA. He is currently the Coordinator of Special Collections and Digital Humanities and Assistant Professor in the Department of English in the College of Arts and Sciences Associate Director of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center at the University of Delaware.

This program is partially funded by a grant from the Delaware Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.




Thursday, August 13, 2020, 6 p.m.


Molly Shapiro | Padua Academy ’21


“Bringing the Past into the Present: (Re)building the Read House Website”


Oluwaseun Ogundimu | MOT Charter School ’22


“The Delaware Historical Society: A New Perspective”


Sanjay Long | Archmere Academy ’21


“A Living Museum: Sidewalks, Gardens, and the Challenges of Preservation”


El Bishop | Cab Calloway School of the Arts ’21


“Communication: The Key to Understanding”


Ben Greenberg | The Hill School ’22


“Rediscovering the Preservation of Old New Castle”


Maura Smeader | Archmere Academy ’21


“A Quaker Goes to Richmond: Transcribing the Diary of Edward Bringhurst, Jr.”




Tuesday, October 20, 2020, 7 p.m.
Women, Politics, and Activism

Click the above image to watch the video


After the success of the July panel discussion, the Delaware Historical Society and Lewes Public Library are co-hosting a second to take a deeper look into women’s rights and issues. A diverse panel of socially conscious women activists will give short presentations on a specific topic. Dr. Emerald Christopher-Byrd, Assistant Professor, Women & Gender Studies, University of Delaware will moderate the discussion that follows. Bring your questions and comments, audience participation is encouraged!


Panelists include:

Beatrice “Bebe” Coker, Community Activist and Educator for more than 50 years who continues to make an impact in Delaware. She is the Founding Director for the Black Heritage Educational/Theater Group, is a playwright and lyricist. She is a graduate of Morgan State University and has worked in social services, public and community relations and diversity training. In 2019, Coker was awarded the John H. Taylor, Jr. Education Leadership Award which sustained community leadership in advancing Delaware education.

Shané Darby, Founder, Black Mothers in Power is a proud mother of three girls. Born and raised in Wilmington by immigrant parents, Shanégraduated from Temple University where she also completed the master’s program in Africana Studies. She recently purchased a lot in her neighborhood to begin controlling of the narrative of her community and plans to transform these spaces to Community Art Gardens. Shanéis especially concerned about Maternal Healthcare for Black Women and Reproductive Justice, advocating for doulas in prisons, and increase the number of certified Black doulas/midwives in Delaware to decrease maternal health risks.

Kerri Evelyn Harris, Community Advocate and Organizer is a U.S. Air Force veteran and 2018 candidate for the U.S. Senate who uplifts causes that advance social and economic justice.

Kerri works directly with impacted communities and in concert with local and national organizations such as the Methodist Action Program, Delaware Center for Justice, Working Hero Action, and Center for Popular Democracy among others. Kerri is also proudly leading efforts to rebuild the people-centered organization Delaware Alliance for Community Advancement.

She is also the National Committeewoman for the Delaware Democratic Party.

Melanie Ross Levin, Director of the Office of Women’s Advancement and Advocacy (OWAA) an organization that supports Delaware women and girls through public policy, research, and action. In 2018, under Melanie's leadership, OWAA helped to pass the most generous paid parental leave benefit for state workers in the United States and the country's first state-wide ban on child marriage. In 2019, OWAA advocated for the successful passage of Delaware's groundbreaking Equal Rights Amendment. Previously, Melanie served as the Director of Engagement and Mobilization at the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) where she led a number of advocacy campaigns, including the Title IX education campaign Let Her Learn and the early learning campaign Strong Start for Children. She also led NWLC’s effort to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

This program is partially funded by a grant from the Delaware Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.






While we think we know the story of women’s suffrage in the United States, new research illustrates that the fight for women’s voting rights is a much richer story. A truly diverse group of women from Chinatown, Native American reservations, African American clubs, and Spanish-speakers in New Mexico worked for more than 40 years to build a movement that would eventually include all women. In Recasting the Vote, author Dr. Cathleen D. Cahill recounts the actions of a multiracial group who pushed the national suffrage movement toward a more inclusive vision of equal rights, which remains an unfinished struggle that extends into the 21st century.

Dr. Cahill will be joined by Jessica Renae Locklear for a conversation about 20th century Philadelphia-area native histories and communities’ issues of concern.

Cathleen D. Cahill, an associate professor of History at Penn State University, is the author of Recasting the Vote: How Women of Color Transformed the Suffrage Movement (University of North Carolina Press 2020). Her first book, Federal Fathers and Mothers: A Social History of the United States Indian Service, 1869-1933 (UNC 2011), won the Labriola Center for American Indian National Book Award and was finalist for the David J. Weber and Bill Clements Book Prize. She is also steering committee chair for the Coalition for Western Women's History.

Jessica R. Locklear is a PhD student in the department of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Jessica graduated from Temple University in May 2020, where she studied public history. Her master's thesis documents the history of Lumbee migrations to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the twentieth century and the community that was established there. Jessica started an oral history project that documents Lumbee and other American Indian experiences in Greater Philadelphia. These interviews are housed at the Southern Oral History Program at UNC, where she now works as a field scholar.

This program is partially funded by a grant from the Delaware Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.




Saturday, November 14, 2020, 7:30 p.m.
The Battles of Germantown: Effective Public History in America


Dr. David Young will share how a neighborhood known for its ties to the American Revolution and Colonial period expanded the histories it considers significant in ways that engaged the surrounding neighbors, including making difficult topics such as discrimination, slavery, and economic decline relevant--and the lessons Germantown has for communities across the country.

David Young has a B.A. in German from Northwestern and M.A. and Ph.D. from Ohio State University, where he won a Fulbright fellowship to support research on local politics, culture, and economics in postwar Germany. Executive Director of the Delaware Historical Society since July 2018, Young has led historical organizations in the Mid-Atlantic Region, winning local and national awards for his work at the Salem County Historical Society, the Johnson House Historic Site, and Cliveden of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. He has taught at colleges in Ohio and Pennsylvania, as well as for ten years in the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania and the History Leadership Institute of the American Association of State and Local History in Indianapolis. He has served as an officer of the Historic Germantown consortium of museums, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, and on the Landmarks Committee of the National Park Service Advisory which makes recommendations about National Historic Landmarks. Young is the author of The Battles of Germantown: Effective Public History in America (Temple University Press, 2019), which was awarded the 2020 Philip S. Klein Book Prize by the Pennsylvania Historical Association for best history of Pennsylvania published in the previous two years.




Sunday, November 15, 2020, 3:00 p.m.
The Jane and Littleton Mitchell Center for African American Heritage


Join Kobe Baker, outreach coordinator for the Jane and Littleton Mitchell Center for African American Heritage, for a presentation on the Mitchell Center. The presentation will include an overview of the Journey to Freedom exhibition and current initiatives.




Delaware History Museum   |  Mitchell Center for African American Heritage   |   Old Town Hall   |   Research Library   |   Willingtown Square    |   Read House & Gardens  

(302) 655-7161
505 N. Market Street, Wilmington, DE 19801
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The Delaware Historical Society is the statewide, non-profit organization that explores, preserves, shares, and promotes Delaware history, heritage, and culture to strengthen our community.